For the past several days, I’ve been testing the top SEO plugin for bloggers. Having used the free plugin for a few years already, imagine how excited I was to receive my license key. WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review includes my observations based on personal experience.
Before continuing, I’d like to share a thought.
If someone were to say that the explosive growth of Apple was due to the App Store, there is no way I’d disagree. Not only did they have a great number of apps available, they also have some of the best apps ever created.
Likewise, the sheer number of plugins made WordPress the overwhelming choice of bloggers. To date, there are more than 49 thousand free plugins that extend the capability of WordPress.
To be honest, most of the plugins are crappy and no longer updated by their developers. Even so, there are still thousands of others that have proven to be invaluable to bloggers.
WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review
Amidst the thousands of useful plugins, some are essential and it’d be a crime not to use them. One such plugin is Yoast SEO, the consensus top SEO plugin for WordPress.
How important is it to use this plugin?
If we want to rank better in search results, then we have to conform to basic SEO guidelines. But doing so, even if it’s one post at a time, is time-consuming.
Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin saves us time by providing us with real-time analysis and suggestions.
By complying with the recommendations of Yoast SEO, blog posts should rank better.
Is that important enough?
But what about the features that are only available in the paid upgrade?
For me to share this WordPress Yoast SEO Premium review, I have to use it myself.
Will it live up to expectations or prove to be one of those useless paid upgrades?
6 Essential Yoast SEO Premium features:
- Redirect Manager
- Social Preview
- Focus Keywords
- Keyword Insights
- Internal Linking
- Premium Support
Before I received the premium license key, 2 of the features had piqued my curiosity for a long time.
How does having more focus keywords improve a blog post?
Does the internal linking feature make it easier for me to link to other posts?
So, here are my observations after using the premium edition for several days.
Keep in mind that I’m following a few guidelines in doing this WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review.
- Focus on the benefits while keeping an eye on the negatives.
- Anything negative is for the developer to take into consideration for future updates.
- Determine usefulness as opposed to trivial benefits.
WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review 1: Redirect Manager
One thing I failed to do was to use keywords in the post URL the right way. Since I already shared old posts, changing the URL results in visitors to the old link landing on an error page.
I did find a great plugin that lets me redirect visitors from an old URL to the new one. As great as this plugin is, it was also time-consuming. Each time I make changes, I had to use the plugin to do the redirection.
Seeing that Yoast SEO Premium has a redirect manager module, I thought it worked like the plugin I was using.
So, when I checked out this feature, there was no surprise as it did work like the other plugin.
As you can see from the screenshot, I could enter both the old and new URL to set a custom redirect. You could also see the other redirects I already made.
It would be days later before I realized that the redirect manager in the premium edition was better.
I edited an old blog post on life purpose because the title and the URL were wrong.
What was I thinking when I posted that?
So, this is what I did.
I renamed the title:
Old title: Life Purpose | Mamburao | Occidental Mindoro
New title: Finding Life Purpose on the Empty Beach of Mamburao in Occidental Mindoro
I also edited the URL:
Old URL: http://www.amazinglifedaily.com/life-purpose-mamburao-occidental-mindoro/
New URL: http://www.amazinglifedaily.com/empty-beach-finding-life-purpose/
After updating, I was getting ready to copy and paste the URL in the Redirect Manager when I saw it.
Yoast SEO Premium created a new redirect for me on its own.
A smiled formed on my face and like I said, the excitement I had in using the premium version continued to build up.
WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review 2: Social Previews
Is there a blogger out there who doesn’t share posts on Facebook or Twitter?
I didn’t think so.
For me, one of the most irritating things in sharing is when the social network pick the wrong image. This happens with posts that contain several images.
In our quest to gain elusive readers for the blog, we want our post shares to look good.
Yoast SEO Premium lets me do that with social previews. Not only does it show me what the post looks like if shared on Facebook and Twitter, it allows me to customize too.
Take a look at the following screenshot on a post with several photos in the content.
That photo isn’t the one I wanted to Facebook and other social networks to grab. Not that I’m complaining if readers do share the post, but I’d like it to be what I wanted it to be.
On that note too, may I remind you to follow me on my social networks to stay updated?
As you can see above, I picked the photo I wanted.
On this occasion, there was no need to edit the title or the description as they were the correct ones. But that option is available for both Facebook and Twitter.
There are other social networks that pull data from the same settings as that for Facebook. Hence, it’s important to make sure that the post is set to share the right information.
I suppose there might be a few bloggers out there who find this feature not as important. But for those who are aware of the importance of visual branding, then this is a super useful tool.
WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review 3: Focus Keywords
As you know, the free version has an SEO analysis tool where you put in the focus keyword. Yoast then analyzes the content and gives suggestions on optimizing.
Unfortunately, we could only use one focus keyword.
In my case, I want to have one main keyword as well as other variants. But keeping track of those keywords in a post is a painful process.
For bloggers using Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress, it’s easy to manage one focus keyword.
But what about the other variants?
So, as soon as I registered the license key on the premium version, the first thing I did was to check out this feature.
As you can see from the above screenshot, I used 3 focus keywords on that post. Using the analysis provided for each focus keyword, I was able to do subtle changes on the post to improve SEO.
In the past, I tried working around the limitations of the free version. I did that by typing the focus keywords I was targeting. But that proved inefficient. Also, it was impossible for me to track and avoid repetitive use of keywords in other posts.
Rather than spending more time keeping track, this extended functionality saves time.
Let me share what went through my mind as I became familiar with using more focus keywords on Yoast SEO Premium.
With more than 400 posts, the task of editing the old ones, one by one, seem daunting. But from experience, updating old posts for better rankings result in more organic traffic.
There’s no shortcut to building organic traffic, and the premium version made it easier for me to do so.
WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review 4: Keyword Insights
Like I said, tracking keywords in a post is troublesome. But what if there’s a tool that shows us the top word combinations in a post?
I think that would be helpful for two reasons.
One is to make sure that the word combinations and the topic are in relation to each other.
Another is that I could use those word combinations as other focus keywords. It then allows me to further optimize the content.
Looking at the prominent words, one long tail keyword would be ‘seating on that empty beach.’ If I were to use optimize for that, then I would change the word ‘that’ to ‘an’.
Bloggers who are familiar with SEO would research for keywords to use before writing a post. Yoast SEO Premium Insights is different in that it takes the words used more in the post.
So, before writing, a blogger might use Google Keyword Planner. But before publishing, Yoast Insights helps ensure we use the planned keywords.
One thing I would like to learn more of, moving forward, are long tail keywords. Because the premium version lets me do more in less time, I should be able to use the extra time to learn how they work.
Looking at the same screenshot above, notice too that the post has a great readability score. One thing bloggers should aim for is to create content that is easy-to-read.
The readability analysis comes with the free version of Yoast SEO plugin. So, be sure to use that tool. If you are having trouble, here’s my guide to getting good readability scores.
WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review 5: Internal Linking
I’d be lying to you if I say I remember all the posts. Having said that, putting internal links to related posts is not as easy as it seems. Not only do I not remember most of the titles, I also don’t remember all the contents too.
So, you could just imagine how excited I am to try out the Internal Linking module of Yoast SEO Premium.
Before I continue, I’d like to say too that I have used internal linking plugins in the past. Unfortunately, I am not aware of a plugin that offers customized anchor texts. Because of that, such plugins might do more harm for SEO than providing benefits.
In the end, the best way to build internal links is still doing it the old-fashioned way. Yes, it’s tedious but with the internal linking module, it becomes easier.
The first thing I needed to do was to let the plugin analyze the content of this blog. But I had issues, which was why I had to contact the support team with details in the next section.
After resolving an issue, analyzing more than 400 posts took around 6 hours. Once done, my heart started beating fast when I saw how it works.
On the post edit page, the internal linking module showed related links on a sidebar. Granted that not all the suggested links are appropriate, there are those that do. From the sidebar, it is easy to pick the links and add to the right anchor text of the post.
Note: The image of the suggested internal links was taken from the post on life lessons.
WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review 6: Support
I believe there have been over 40 million downloads of Yoast’s popular SEO plugin. The sheer number of users makes it impossible for them to respond to every email. But for premium users, they get access to the support team by email.
As mentioned, I had compatibility issues which prevented the internal linking module from working. It became an opportunity for me to see how the support team works.
I sent them an email and the first reply came 12 hours later. Suffice to say, the following back-and-forth came much quicker. I did not confirm this but email support seems to be office hours only.
I have some thoughts on the support team of Yoast.
One is that because customers do pay for the premium version, Yoast needs to provide support. So, it is important for those who value the importance of support to know it’s only through email.
In my opinion, customer support by email is the least Yoast could do. From the perspective of customers, a live chat support would have been better. I’m pretty sure this is something the developers have thought of in the past.
As for how I would rate their customer support, that is subjective. For one, I am familiar with the use of WordPress and plugins. That means that I am better able to deal with issues so as long someone points me in the right direction. But for someone who is clueless, resolving issues may take a little more time.
Conclusion of WordPress Yoast SEO Premium Review
After reading through my review, you have an idea of how the 6 essential features could benefit you.
Before you decide if the upgrade is worth it for you, let me share my thoughts.
After seeing how all 6 works, the biggest benefit the premium version gave me was making my tasks easier.
Each feature worked and met my expectations. In other words, at no point was I misled in how this premium version was going to do this and that.
If there is one thing I hate, and so do you, it’s the promise of the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Any SEO plugin for WordPress does not make you an expert in SEO. For sure, there’s a learning curve. And for that, there are countless tutorials and guides on the web.
What the SEO plugin does is to make it easy. So as long as bloggers use the SEO tool as intended, it works like a charm.
At USD $69 per year for a single-site license, I believe the price is worth it. In fact, when I look at the things I could do, and how easier they are now, it’s a bargain.
To the developers, I’d like to thank you for one of the best plugins ever for WordPress. Furthermore, I’d like to say that the premium version works as promised. I wish you good luck and may you continue to improve this plugin.
To bloggers, I hope you have a self-hosted WordPress blog. One thing you do not want to miss out on is this amazing plugin. If you’ve been using the free version for a while already, now is as good as any time to UPGRADE TO PREMIUM.